U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken had a “robust conversation” with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and other top diplomats in Beijing, ending a two-day trip that some critics have argued is a win for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Blinken, the most senior U.S. official to travel to China since President Joe Biden took office, met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Sunday before holding talks with the communist regime’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, on Monday.
His trip marks the first visit to China by a U.S. secretary of state since October 2018.
Unlike talks with Qin and Wang, which lasted several hours, Blinken’s meeting with Xi lasted about 35 minutes.
“I came to Beijing to strengthen high-level challenges of communication, to make clear our positions and intentions in areas of disagreement, and to explore areas where we might work together when our interests align on shared transnational challenges. And we did all of that,” Blinken said at the press conference after the meeting with Xi in Beijing.
“During those meetings, we had a robust conversation about regional and global challenges.”
Blinken said he raised issues such as “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” the CCP’s “provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait, as well as in the South and East China Seas,” and human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.
The top U.S. diplomat said the talks also touched on the respective economic policies, including Washington’s “concern about China’s unfair treatment of U.S. companies.”
“It was clear coming in that the relationship was at a point of instability,” Blinken told reporters in Beijing. “And both sides recognized the need to work to stabilize it.”
Among the U.S. priorities was to resume the bilateral exchanges on the military level. But “at this moment, China has not agreed to move forward with that,” Blinken told reporters, even though he had “repeatedly” raised the issue during the two-day trip.
“We’re not going to have success on every issue between us on any given day, but in a whole variety of areas, on the terms that we set for this trip, we have made progress, and we are moving forward,” Blinken said.
“But again, I want to emphasize none of this gets solved, resolved with one visit, one trip, one conversation. It’s a process.”
While both Blinken and Xi expressed a willingness to continue the communication, there is little indication that the Chinese regime is prepared to bend from its positions on issues like Taiwan.
In recent years, Xi had repeatedly vowed to annex Taiwan, a self-ruled island the CCP viewed as its own territory, and directly threatened war to achieve that goal.
On Sunday, Qin told Blinken that Taiwan is “the core of the core interests” of the communist regime and “the most prominent risk” in the U.S-China ties.
Blinken reiterated on Monday that the United States will continue to advocate its “One China” policy, under which Washington officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei.
However, Blinken noted the Taiwan Relations Act makes clear that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with China instead of Taiwan rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.
“We and many others have deep concerns about some of the provocative actions that China has taken in recent years, going back to 2016,” he told reporters. “The reason that this is a concern for so many countries, not just the United States, is that were there to be a crisis over Taiwan, the likelihood is that that would produce an economic crisis that could affect quite literally the entire world.”
Blinken’s Visit ‘Bolsters Chairman Xi’s Image’
While there doesn’t appear to be any major breakthrough in bilateral ties following Blinken’s visit, experts told The Epoch Times prior to Blinken’s meeting with Xi that the visit would serve Beijing’s interests.
“If its relationship with the United States continues to decline or comes to the point of conflict, foreign investors will accelerate the pace of pulling money out of China, which will make its already shaky economy more fragile,” China affairs commentator Li Linyi told The Epoch Times on June 19.
“That’s is what [Xi] doesn’t want to see,” Li said, “especially given its post-COVID economic recovery is losing momentum, the youth unemployment rate hit a record high, and foreign investment sentiment declined amid the regime’s regulatory crackdown.”
China expert Feng Chongyi, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, noted that the era of rapid growth in China relied on a strategy of deception to “parasitize” the capital market in the United States and the West to obtain technology and wealth.
Feng believes the cold war has never gone away, though the communist regimes in Europe disintegrated, “because the Chinese Communist Party, which is among the worst, most stubborn, and most brutal front in the communist camp, still exists.”
After Xi took office in 2012, he revealed the CCP’s ambition, according to Feng. “He wants to compete and confront the free world with its growing military and economic power.”
“That forced the West to acknowledge the reality that the cold war is still going on,” Feng continued.
While Blinken said the United States is not seeking to decouple with communist China, Feng believed it is already underway, though the West is using the term “de-risking.”
“The strategy adopted by the United States is to gradually decouple, starting from cutting technology and upgrading step by step. This is the general trend,” he said.
According to Feng, Washington hoped to “prevent the cold war from becoming hot” through high-level talks, but he warned such engagement with the CCP was like “dancing with fires.”
“[The CCP] still wants to continue to parasitize the capital market. It’s like this virus that cannot survive without its host or capital,” Feng said.
Shortly after the meeting ended, Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) took to Twitter to say Blinken’s visit feeds into China’s propaganda.
“Secretary Blinken’s apology tour in Communist #China does little to strengthen US national security & bolsters Chairman Xi’s image within the brutal regime in Beijing—playing right into the hands of the CCP’s propaganda machine,” Gimenez wrote.
Luo Ya and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times